Until Dawn Review

While cinemas are showing the latest “Insidious” and “Poltergeist” movies, our confidence that horror films are living their last days is steadily growing. The genre, built entirely on anxiety and tension, is slowly losing its contemplative value, because you can’t spend your whole life being afraid of what exists on the screen itself. We don’t want to watch anymore – we want to be involved, to have the opportunity to respond and play our little role. In other words, to transition from being a spectator to being a participant.

Games have been offering this privilege for a long time, and technological progress allows for slowly but surely blurring the line between entertainment and cinema. Therefore, the transition of horror films into an interactive form is quite natural, and the emergence of something like “Until Dawn” was only a matter of time.

Image related to the character Ashley

The most amusing thing is that, by horror standards, the Supermassive Games project is as old as the world – well, or as some “Scream”. It is a pure homage to mid-90s slashers without any pretense of innovation or originality. Everything is by the book: a cabin in the impenetrable wilderness, a group of perpetually joking teenagers, a night party, and someone who really doesn’t want the partygoers to survive until morning.

But Until Dawn doesn’t just throw these facts together for the sake of slaughter, oh no. The script takes its time to savor and refine the banal setup, showing that the local characters are not just dumb youngsters, but dumb youngsters with personalities. The duration of a whole “Halloween” is dedicated here to the relationships within the group, crude jokes, love triangles, and other “Santa Barbara” stuff. It’s not very clear why cannon fodder needs such well-developed personalities, but the game insists that you firmly know who Mike plans to hook up with and why nobody likes Emily.

Screenshot showing dialogue options within the game

And it is difficult to find justification for the protraction of this circus of passions. Superficially understanding the situation can be done in about forty minutes, trying on all the known archetypes to the characters – and exactly the same amount of time would be enough to create a calm atmosphere in contrast to the real danger. The remaining hour and a half of snowball fights, cooing of doves, and teenage squabbles only distract attention and weaken interest.

The coolest part, of course, begins when everything goes downhill. Dialogues are no longer based on discussing perverse fantasies, events pick up pace, and the characters finally go all out. Everything is quite predictable and familiar, but this time we actively participate in the meat grinder instead of watching it from the sidelines.

Until Dawn screenshot

“Although there is no talk of any phenomenal level of speech interaction. Until Dawn is no bigger a game than the past-gen Heavy Rain or the latest works of Telltale Games. Roughly speaking, it is a series of long videos, during which you may be asked to accompany one of the characters to an active point, collecting clues, choosing actions for them, or clicking a few buttons to play out a dynamic scene. There are no other variations of gameplay here, you only intervene in what is happening at the director’s command, which – surprise, surprise! – is you yourself.

As the main interactive element, the game allows you to create your own storyline by making important decisions at key moments of the narrative. The system is aptly named” “The butterfly effect” Since not all forks have obvious consequences, and sometimes the smallest actions can have a big impact. For example, your fleeing heroine may not experience anything if she takes a risk and cuts through a steep slope – but a rude joke from a friend may result in betrayal in the end. There are countless possibilities for how events will unfold, and you literally determine who among the characters will die and who will survive each time.

For some reason, objects here need to turn in the manner of L.A. Noire. The idea is not the most successful.

The objects here need to be rotated in the style of L.A. Noire for some reason. The idea is not very successful.

There are no complaints about Until Dawn. It may be as trivial in terms of plot and gameplay as it gets, but it evokes an extraordinary sense of involvement in the fate of the characters. We have long understood that there is no place for non-linearity in beautiful stories like those of Telltale, but we still haven’t come to terms with the flat illusion of choice in adventures – that’s why a silly tale about screaming students, allowing you to cut them as you please, fits perfectly with our needs.

Despite the fact that you need to play this tale from time to time, it is primarily perceived as a movie, and the presentation contributes to this. The engine of the latest Killzone delivers one of the most convincing visuals of today, thanks to which almost identical copies of the actors involved jump on the screen, and the lighting is vivid and atmospheric. Fixed camera angles (which often make it unclear where to go, but always clear where to look), gorgeous credits, and stylization as a TV series also contribute to the cinematic feel. Alan Wake and the experimental Alone in the Dark have played with the latter at different times, but here the division into episodes fits like a glove.

Group of characters
Until Dawn Jessica

The effect of all this is appropriate. Just like in the good old days when you managed to find a cassette with “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” semi-interactive viewing brings pleasure of the strangest kind. The favorites and “you idiot-when will you die” quickly stand out, illogical actions make you howl with indignation, second-rate screamers entertain more than scare, and so on down the list.

If you loved shouting at the TV, giving instructions to mindless heroes of teenage horror movies, now you have the most tangible chance to try out all your advice in action. Until Dawn is far from a flawless horror, but the aesthetics of slashers require it to be primitive and bad. The game handles these tasks excellently, and that’s all you need.

Until Dawn
Sony Computer Entertainment
Supermassive Games
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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